“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
Dianne had always felt like more of a wallflower than a leader. However, she had mastered her current role in her publishing company and really wanted to get promoted to a higher-level position.
To get there, she knew she had to focus on growing her leadership skills. She began working with an executive coach who gave her weekly exercises to do in order to hone those abilities. Within a couple of months, her boss had remarked about her growing leadership competencies and suggested she might be a prime candidate for a directorial position one day.
What do great leaders do? They instill feelings of confidence and motivate their workers. Many people struggle to understand how they can achieve the same results.
Here’s the good news: If you have the motivation, you absolutely can master the necessary skills to become a star leader.
Some people are born with an inherent ability to get others to follow them. However, charisma isn’t the only trait of a great leader. A lot of the personality traits that make for highly effective leaders are built on a solid foundation of emotional maturity and drive.
Here are the most essential traits that great leaders have. If you want to aspire toward a career in leadership, work toward building and developing these characteristics.
- Great leaders have Integrity.
Leaders’ honesty and ability to follow a set of ethics in all of their work affects their ability to influence their followers. Demonstrate your integrity by keeping your word and showing that the human element of what you do matters more than anything else. Set and maintain strong corporate responsibility guidelines, if you’re in a position to make such decisions. Your employees will be proud to work at a firm that takes social responsibility seriously.
- Great leaders have Intelligence.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but great leaders should be able to think critically and solve problems. Emotional intelligence is an important trait, too. Great leaders get results by working effectively with others and building strong relationships with the people they supervise. Keep an open mind when it comes to problem-solving. Seeking a range of input will increase the overall intelligence you have to work with.
- Great leaders have high energy.
Leadership requires enormous drive, hard work, good stress-management skills, and enthusiasm. Find ways to recharge during your downtime and destress your life, so you can maintain the optimistic outlook and drive it takes to succeed as a leader.
- Great leaders bring stability.
Being in control of emotions that are disruptive to others is another critical component of being a great leader. Find a relaxation technique that helps you maintain calm within the storm when difficult situations arise. If you tend to get anxious or angry easily, make a habit of not responding immediately to emails or phone calls that spark those emotions. Take a few moments to re-center first.
- Great leaders have high standards.
Great leaders set high professional standards for themselves as well as their employees. They remind themselves of the standards they want to meet and the image they want to create on a daily basis. The needs of the organization and its employees are their top priority. In many ways, a great leader is self-sacrificing. They’re willing to have tough conversations and take on demanding work for the sake of the greater good.
- Great leaders have a strong inner voice.
Using gut instincts and reasoning, great leaders are able to quickly assimilate information and arrive at a conclusion. They trust their intuition and allow it to guide their decisions. While they often seek additional input, they’re not usually starting at square one.
- Great leaders are confident in their decisions.
Great leaders know that the choices they make are the best ones, and they don’t hesitate to make tough decisions, even if that means having to fire someone. They can confidently explain the rationale behind their choices, maintaining transparency. They are also capable of mitigating damage in the event of a bad choice, knowing they’re not infallible.
- Great leaders invest in their own growth.
By keeping abreast of new developments in leadership methods, great leaders can ensure that they will continue to serve as a valuable resource to their company. They strive to read up on new techniques and approaches, and to brush up on them with leadership skills trainings.
Knowing what makes a boss or leader great is not enough. You must also take steps to put your knowledge into action. For instance, you can grow your confidence by building a support team and challenging yourself to take smaller risks. If you’re an aspiring leader, take a few minutes right now to list the steps you will take this week to become a stronger leader. Or, if you’re a manager working to grow your people’s leadership qualities, prompt them to list those steps for themselves.
As an executive coach, Joel Garfinkle is an expert at helping promising employees develop leadership qualities. Contact him to learn more about his executive coaching services.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” —Vince Lombardi
Renae Asks: I’m trying to use my time wisely, and that means being strategic in the leadership training opportunities I pursue, as well as the ones I set up for the team I manage. Which qualities would you say are most necessary for people to develop if they wish to become key leaders in their organization?
Joel Answers: Let’s start by demystifying what leadership actually means. It’s the ability to influence followers in order to meet organizational goals through change. That’s something you absolutely have the capacity to do—and you can help every one of your star employees learn to do it, too.
To many, leadership is an elusive role. Some people seem to have a natural talent for leading, while others struggle to grasp how to do it.
Great leaders are not necessarily born, however. Often there’s a lot of self-defeating behavior to overcome. Anyone with the motivation to lead can develop core leadership qualities.
Great leaders play multiple roles inside of an organization. You need to explore what these roles involve in order to analyze areas of weakness. These roles and responsibilities include:
- Decision-making roles, which involve innovating ideas, instituting change, resolving conflict, and allocating company resources such as payroll and inventory.
- Interpersonal roles, such as leading a team, representing the company to the outside world, and acting as a liaison.
- Informational roles, involving gathering information to uncover problems and opportunities, delegating tasks, and reporting to a boss or board of directors.
Poor leadership can lead a company to failure. By contrast, McKinsey & Company is an organization that demonstrates the benefits of developing leaders who stand out. Many executives trained by McKinsey go on to become leading executives at major companies, more so than for any other firm.
In a great business leadership training program, a motivational speaker will share valuable advice like these 5 key tips on developing the qualities of a great leader.
- As a leader know when to step back.
Sometimes being a great leader means knowing when to let people do their jobs. Micromanaging your staff wastes company resources and frustrates employees. A good boss empowers employees to make their own decisions and do their jobs in the way they deem best.
- Make yourself available as a leader.
Leaders can’t afford to be aloof. Showing their staff that they care is an essential component of the ability to influence. Celebrate success, praise and reward a job well done, and let them know that they matter.
- Leaders focus on the vision.
A great leader remembers the fundamentals and keeps their team tuned into the elements of success. They keep everyone focused on fulfilling the company’s core vision rather than getting off course. Leaders must “keep their eyes on the ball” and not lose sight of the bottom line.
- Great leaders nurture their people’s growth.
Ask them what matters to them; what goals they’ve set for themselves. If they have trouble with goal-setting, walk them through it. Be the coach and mentor your people have been looking for, and they’ll be eternally grateful for your support. A great motivational training will help you supercharge their growth, too!
- Leaders don’t put off things that are hard.
If you have something difficult to do, do it first. Otherwise it will consume your mental energy and rob you of your productive time. Have the tough conversation; make that difficult decision. That way, you won’t be stewing about it, and you can move on.
To make your business more competitive and achieve organizational goals, encourage people in managerial roles to develop their leadership qualities. Great leaders who find deep fulfillment in their work will allow your whole business to reach new heights of success. A training on influential leadership will help you achieve that goal.
To instill great leadership qualities in your people, hire Joel Garfinkle. He’s been helping promising employees develop into star leaders for twenty years.
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker
Braxton Asks: To prepare my high-performers to take on more challenging roles, my company wants to hold a leadership training event. What should we be looking for in a training meant to prepare them for executive positions?
Joel Answers: The most important quality your talent pipeline of leaders need to have to move to the next level is executive presence. By experiencing this executive presence program, leaders will acquire the necessary traits to develop their executive presence and become the elite performers who influence outcomes, contribute to major decisions, and drive change for the betterment of the company.
If you want someone to instill your star employees with the skills and presence to excel as executives, you need someone with proven expertise in training up-and-coming execs. You also need to make sure that person can give you a detailed description of the training he or she will provide, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
For example, a multi-billion-dollar biotechnology company recently contacted me for a training on executive presence to help newly minted high-potential mid-level managers reach the next level of leadership. Here’s the program and what the audience learned.
Title of the training:
Executive Presence: Four Ways to Convey Confidence and Command Respect as a Leader.
The audience learned how to:
- Radiate Gravitas: Be poised, confident, in command, and charismatic.
- Act with Authority: Be decisive, bold, accountable, and convincing.
- Build a Positive Reputation: Be seen as credible, trustworthy, respected, and reliable.
- Communicate Powerfully: Be concise, prepared, and deliver confident messages with conviction.
Often people believe that executive presence is something you’re either born with or lacking. Up-and-coming leaders need to know how to cultivate it. They need to understand the specific behaviors they can practice, day after day, in order to build the kind of executive presence they’ve admired in other leaders. In this training, I take the mystery out of executive presence so audience members can begin carefully crafting it within themselves.
Outcomes of this executive presence training:
By taking part in this program, leaders learned to carry themselves with confidence and be sure of their abilities and what they are able to produce and accomplish. They gained the confidence and respect of their co-workers and supervisors. They were assigned high-profile projects and put in situations where they can create impact and exercise influence. They gained the confidence to seize the reins in their careers.
There are thousands of speakers all over the nation, which can definitely make the selection process feel daunting. But by knowing what you want and finding a speaker who can deliver in that specific area, you’ll ensure the program will drive results.
If you want your leaders to develop executive presence, hire Joel Garfinkle. He’s the subject matter expert and has been speaking on the topic of executive presence for twenty years.
“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
Easton Asks: I want to hire a great professional keynote speaker for an event I’m helping to plan. However, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a feel-good speech that doesn’t deliver results. How can I find the speaker who will provide the best value?
Joel Answers: The cost of a hiring a professional speaker for your keynote address can vary significantly, but it’s important not to cut costs by choosing the cheapest speaker rather than the one who is best for the job. You want your event to shine, and that won’t happen unless you choose the best professional speaker you can afford. Having said this, no matter the cost, make sure the speaker’s service provides solid value.
What qualities should you require a keynote speaker to have?
Most importantly, the ability to not only fire up an audience but to empower them to think strategically about their careers. The best speakers catalyze lasting change by helping audiences devise a clear plan of action for stepping into leadership roles.
Whether you are hosting an all-day high-potential training or a corporate event, a professional keynote speaker has the power not just to motivate your employees, but also to help you cut costs by improving your people’s efficiency and productivity. They’ll learn strategies for working smarter, and by increasing their engagement, they’ll get more results.
- Ask questions of your professional speaker.
You can increase the value you’ll get from the speaker by asking plenty of questions during the screening process. Find out where the speaker’s strengths lie and determine whether those strengths match up with your company’s needs. Tell the speaker about the challenges your company is facing and ask how he will address those problem areas. You should interview at least two or three candidates before making a choice.
- Find out what other services the speaker offers.
Ask your candidates what services and programs they have to offer in addition to the keynote speech, and figure out how those can be incorporated into your event. Can they double as an emcee for your event? Can they hold a breakout session after the keynote address? Add an additional service or two that might normally require hiring multiple people but could be done by a single speaker, and you just might be able to get a discount and save money on the overall cost of the event.
- Treat your speaker as an investment, not an expense.
In order for your business to be profitable, you can only cut corners so much. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Remember that your speaker is an investment in your employees. If you pick the right speaker, you’ll see a measurable return on investment due to increased confidence, morale, and productivity. Only then will your event be a true success.
Wondering whether you’ve found the perfect speaker? Watch videos of your speaking candidates online to observe their speaking style. Any accomplished speakers will have videos that demonstrate whether they’re a truly captivating presenter. Are they charismatic—when they enter the room, would people turn their heads in anticipation of what they are going to say? Listen for the audience’s reaction, too—do funny anecdotes get a genuine laugh, or do jokes fizzle out? How does the overall pacing feel?
Did you watch a speaker’s video and think, I would love to have this person speak to my people! Set up a phone conversation. Ask questions like these:
- What types of audiences do you speak to?
- What kinds of tools do you share with employees for helping them make changes?
- Are you available to lead a breakout session and/or follow-up training?
With the right professional speaker, your keynote will give your employees an actionable plan they can implement to achieve their career goals. They’ll leave the session more driven, with clearer goals, and ready to implement the changes that will take their career and their company to the next level.
Hire Joel Garfinkle for a speaking engagement and see for yourself why he is one of the most sought-after motivational and professional speakers.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Patrice knew she needed to get serious about succession planning. As the Chief Human Resources Officer at a multi-billion dollar company, she had hundreds of aspiring leaders not prepared for the next level.
As part of this plan, she wanted to hire a corporate trainer to help the aspiring leaders by giving them the tools they needed for the next level. She knew her employees deserved a top-tier speaker, and she wanted someone who would provide the follow-up needed to ensure their success.
Hiring a top-notch speaker with the right expertise can change the game by shifting workplace culture. A skilled trainer can help employees break free of any undesirable patterns and fully leverage their company’s collective talent, guiding them to become great leaders.
Since she wanted to get a great return for her investment, Patrice carefully outlined a strategy for planning the training. If you’re looking for a corporate training for your company, here’s the 3-step process that the trainer should follow.
- Corporate training – pre-event briefing
What happens before the actual training or event is as important as the event itself. Prior to the corporate training, a good speaker will interview company leaders and key decision-makers as well as seminar participants to understand company dynamics and employee pain points.
The speaker might also inquire about past team-building or leadership skill-sharing initiatives, asking you to share what worked and what didn’t. By doing so, the speaker gains a deep understanding of the company culture and the people who will be attending the presentation.
The speaker can then give your company a corporate training that will address specific concerns instead of providing a superficial cookie-cutter solution that may sound grand but leaves no impact.
- Corporate training – during the event.
Effective speakers know how to train on leadership by incorporating genuine employee stories that emerged from pre-event discussions to make their arguments compelling. By sharing anecdotes, interacting with the audience, and asking questions, a good speaker ensures that participants are hanging on every word and leave fired up to work together as a team.
But is that enough? Not if you ask an exceptional trainer. To really get the speech to “stick,” the best corporate trainers also offer the company’s employees tools to help them unravel the pain points troubling them. Along with motivation, they deliver a plan of action that directly impacts the bottom line.
- Corporate training – post-event process.
So, the event was a raving success, the employees are fired up, they’re got the tools to get started—that’s the recipe for team-building success, right? Well, almost. The final ingredient to ensure that it all comes together is following up. Holding employees (and yourself) accountable is critical. Encourage employees to take on new creative projects and publicly reward those who take extra initiative. Roll up your sleeves and get involved; it says a lot about the way you lead. Email participants for feedback on the event or organize a post-event anonymous survey.
You can also invite the speaker to come back for a shorter follow-up event to reinforce the results you want. This can be done with a webinar. Finally, a great speaker might help you lay out a game plan for how to keep your team motivated and elevate their performance to higher levels.
Patrice found a speaker who understood the importance of coaching and mentoring employees as well as delivering a stellar motivational speech. The employees were ecstatic afterward, filled with the excitement of having new strategies for success and knowing their company took their growth seriously.
All corporate leadership trainings are not created equally. There’s a lot of work that goes into a uniquely designed customized seminar that fits the needs of your organization. Look for a speaker with a commitment to thorough pre-event preparation and post-event follow-up. The top candidates will not only answer your questions thoroughly, but will ask you insightful questions that show they’re working to understand exactly what you need a speaker to do. That’s the difference between a feel-good seminar and a company training that takes corporate success to a whole new level.
If you’re looking for real results, hire a corporate trainer who is a leading expert in the above 3-step process today!